Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh I Have Dreamed Of Days Like These

I'd just like to say at the outset that I am fully aware that should I happen to re-read this post at any point this winter, particularly in February, I will likely want to retroactively perpetrate great damage and pain upon my own body. But today, I just can't help myself - it is cold outside! Perhaps I should qualify. By "cold," I mean in the sixties, which I am well aware is laughable to many hale and hearty residents of northern climes, but I stand by my statement. It is cold. Huzzah! It is cold and rainy and overcast. Oh joy! There is no sun in the sky, and when I stepped outside yesterday wearing only a thin sweater (well, pants and shoes, too), I became instantly chilled. What bliss! I slept the past few nights with the windows open under a snuggly blanket, and Birdie curled up as close as she could physically get without actually being under the covers, or inside my skin. Ahhhhh. For the first time in months, I am not hot, and so today, in spite of the obvious climatological foreshadowing of an utterly miserable and wet winter season, I and my acres and acres of beautiful bouncy hair will do a celebratory dance of joy. Watch me sparkle, world.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Out of the Closet, Birdie.

Well, my poppets, it is as I have long suspected. My cute little dog Birdie is in the closet. I grew suspicious when she peed like a boy dog, and my suspicions solidified into a theory when she marked territory every two feet on our walks around the neighborhood. But today, my suspicions were confirmed. Birdie is in the closet, and I don't know how to make her feel safe enough to come out.

This morning after our walk, Birdie was lounging about on the couch, curled up on her favorite fish pillow. A pillow, I ought to note, that my friends and I call the "gay fish pillow" due to it's festive rainbow color scheme.

I was making toast for breakfast in the kitchen, and I guess the toaster got a little overzealous in its toastiness, because next thing I knew the smoke alarm was going off right overhead. And Birdie, my deaf little doggie, who probably hasn't heard anything since the New Kids on the Block were popular... well let's just say she HEARD that smoke alarm and it scared the ever-loving shitballs out of her. She jumped about three feet high in the air, spun around in a tight circle a few times looking for the attackers, and then, seeing nothing (cause she's blind), leapt off the sofa, streaked across the kitchen, and darted into the back corner of my closet. She has been there now for 30 minutes, and nothing can induce her to leave - not snacks, not snuggles, not her favorite blanket.

Can you see her? She's that little black munchkin hiding under my dress. Here's a closer look.

Come out of the closet, Birdie! It's safe out here, I promise.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lend Me Your Mean

Friends, Romans, countrymen: lend me your mean. Yes, I said mean. Bring me your impishness and your mischief. Loan me the evil glimmer in your eye. Assist me, if you will, and help me whet my killer instinct, for I find myself sorely lacking in this time of need. You see, my dears, I have been attacked by fiends disguised as good friends, and though in the past I have fallen short of prankster glory (see last year's insult-a-thon and email-bomb with my good friend Mutt, a story I strongly encourage you to read or re-read, just for the sheer glory of the experience), this time I shall not fail, I shall not fall short, and I will prevail. But to do so, I fear I need some help.

First let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. I was dining the other evening with my friends Bake and Toto, a married couple who pride themselves on puckish pranksterism. At some point, the word douchebag came up, and though the conversation about using the term as an insult meandered hither and thither, in the end I mentioned that it would be nice if just once we, as a culture, could come up with a gender-neutral way of insulting each other. For example, why douchebag? Why not, I offered, just call each other "enema face?" We chuckled and chortled, ultimately deciding that while enema-face did have its charms, it didn't come trippingly off the tongue, and ought to be discarded. After dinner we parted ways, and when I came back to my car (which I had foolishly left at Bake and Toto's house) later that night, it was to find that somebody had decorated my car.

And then on the side:

ENEMA FACE? And as if that wasn't bad enough, they MISSPELLED ENEMA. Enima? I hear from unconfirmed and anonymous sources that they did this on purpose, correctly divining that I would be mildly embarrassed to drive through the streets of Austin with ENEMA written on the back of my car, but ENIMA? Oh, god, may the earth swallow me whole. Actually, if you look at the picture, you can see where I tried to move the shaving cream around to make the "i" into an "e." I failed.

The PORN STAR and shaving cream on the door handle was a nice touch, I have to say. In fact, the whole trick was neatly done. No permanent damage incurred, and the whole thing was very funny, with just a kick of public humiliation thrown in for good measure. I love these kinds of games!

So that is where I stand. While I did "accidentally" dump half a pitcher of water onto Toto's lap the other day (actually, that was quite good, if I do say so myself), I must exact retribution that is swift, just, and more-or-less merciful, while still getting them back good. I'm great at pranking folks I live with - short sheeting, saran wrap on the toilet, toothpaste on the potty seat, rubber bands around the hose nozzle at the sink so it squirts the person in the shirt, etc. But I fear right now I am out of my depth. I lack the killer instinct for really getting somebody good, sadly. What on earth shall I do?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hello, I'm Mr. Right.

A friend of mine just sent me this link with an inquiry as to whether he ought to do a similar video profile to pep up his dating life. All I have to say is GOOD LORD WATCH THIS VIDEO IMMEDIATELY. Also, having just signed up for a little eBay dating myself, I am now officially terrified. Are all men this nutto? Seriously? Perhaps I should implant a GPS tracking device under my skin so that in case some crazy dude who thinks I'm a "Donna Juanita," whatever in the hell that means, (watch video) kidnaps me, forces me to cut my hair in a mullet, and brainwashes me into singing backup for a nightclub act at a local strip joint under the alias "Chesty LaRue," ...well in case that happens at least somebody will be able to track me down and rescue me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

For Mary Travers, Wherever You Are.

I was born in 1977, so strictly speaking, I had very little personal knowledge of the issues and themes that motivated the 1960s political folk music movement. Free love? Civil Rights? Anti-war protests? Bob Dylan? By the time I became aware of music beyond nursery songs and lullabies, the social costs of free love were about to catch up with us in the form of the AIDS virus, the Civil Rights Movement had passed its political apex, the Vietnam War was over, and Bob Dylan was reinventing himself as a Born Again Christian. But largely thanks to my mother, the inimitable Captain Mommypants, I might as well have grown up 20 years earlier. How many other girls of my generation can speak with any degree of fluency about "the 27 8x10 color glossy photos with the circles and the arrows and the writin' on the back?" Let me tell you, not so many, and I'm in a position to know.

One of my mother's favorite groups (and thus, one of mine) was Peter, Paul, and Mary. We played those tapes until they shredded, and once they shredded, we just bought more. I grew up on that music. So when I heard on NPR this morning that Mary Travers had died, I felt... well I felt bereaved, there's really no other word for it. I put down my Cheerios, picked up my little dog, sat on the couch for a few minutes and just let myself feel sad, because something wonderful lived in that woman, and what she shared with the world, what she shared with me, shaped the world we live in, and shaped the person I became. I guess a lot of people are going to write meaningful obituaries that speak about her professional accomplishments, so there's no need to rehash those details here. Instead, I'm just going to post a few videos of PPM performing some of my favorite songs, and let you know that this morning while I biked to work I put my Peter Paul and Mary playlist on my iPod and as I listened to Mary's beautiful voice, I cried.

I cried when I listened to them sing Puff the Magic Dragon. In fact, that's when the crying started, right when they got to the line, "Jackie Paper came no more."

I cried through If I Had a Hammer, because my god, do we need people who feel this strongly speaking out today.

and Blowin' in the Wind, because... well, just because. It's blowin' in the wind.

In my early 20s I worked as a backpacking guide for a state-run "hoods in the woods" program in Utah, and I'd bribe my kids to be good with the promise of a lullaby at night. They had a choice of any number of Peter, Paul, and Mary songs, but their favorites were 500 Miles and Blowin' in the Wind. My favorites, too. So when I cried through 500 Miles I was crying for Mary Travers, but I was also crying for those young men in the wilderness, many of them well on their way toward becoming hardened thugs, and all of them desperate for a little bit of love.

Most people my age broke their concert teeth on the New Kids on the Block or MC Hammer, but not me. My first concert ever was Peter, Paul, and Mary. And trust me. There was nobody at that amphitheater more excited to see these folk legends than I was. I remember at one point a jet flew overhead while Mary was introducing a song, and she had to stop speaking. She waited for the noise to quiet, and then held up her hands to the audience. "If there's one thing I've learned in all my years," she said, "it is that often it is better to simply wait. Because this, too, shall pass." The audience laughed as she'd intended them to, but that particular piece of wisdom stuck in my 14 year old mind like a burr. So Mary Travers, wherever you are, thank you. Thank you for gifting this world with wonderful music, for caring and working hard for important social issues, for trying to make the world a better place. But thank you also, just from me, for telling me that "this too shall pass." You have no idea how many times that has helped me get through the harder parts of life.

That's all I've got for today, so I'll leave you with one last song, should you want to listen. It's one of my favorites, but not a famous PPM recording. It's called The First Time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kindergarten Kidlet

Dear Bug,

Well my little brother, I was talking to our mother on the phone yesterday and I found out that you've recently started kindergarten, and I just want to say WHAT THE F&CK. Kindergarten? KINDERGARTEN? Do you not even realize what that means, Buggo? It means you're getting old. Growing up. Becoming a Big Boy. I am suddenly terrified, for I know what happens when adorable little boys go to school. First they become kids, which isn't really so bad. The learning and writing and spelling can be kind of cute. But after kidhood comes adolescence, which occasionally is still nice, but then (oh, shudders), you will eventually become a teenager. Teenager! Outrageous! I won't have it, Bug, I'm just letting you know that right off the bat. I like you the way you are - silly and sweet and unselfconscious and stubborn and absolutely delightful. What's going to happen when you go to school?

Will you still want to go camping with me? Will you still stay up all night reading Dick and Jane over and over and over again?

Will you eventually become so self-aware that you don't pee in public anymore?

Will you become sufficiently self-contained to sit still and patiently while Mom cuts your hair?

I hope you don't become too self-conscious to kiss your sisters whenever they demand it.

I hope you don't ever get "too cool" to snuggle up with me and Big Dog for a nice afternoon snuggle-book.

Sigh. Oh, Bug. I'm glad you're growing and learning and becoming the wonderful person you will one day be. More than anything I just regret that I'm missing so much of it, all the way out here in Texas. I'm aware that I can't really force you to stay five years old and adorable for the rest of your life. I know that one day you'll get braces, and then your voice will change and eventually you'll probably think that video games are more fun than exploring in the woods (though dear lord, I hope that day never comes). I know your voice will change and you'll crush opponents on the football field and then will come algebra and back hair. And in all likelihood, you will still be an absolutely wonderful teddy bear of a human being, a person who makes everybody around them happier just by being there. I know this, and I promise I won't try to freeze you in time too much, but only if you promise me one thing:


I love you, kiddo. Happy kindergarten.

Your adoring older sister,
Amazing Cheastypants.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


OK, I have some very important news. Ground-breaking. Earth-shattering. But you have to promise not to tell.

No, I mean it.


If this news gets out I'll never have another peaceful moment, especially given the global implications. Ok, lean closer. (Whispering) I just discovered that I can control the weather.


Want to know how I figured it out? OK, I'll tell you. I thought to myself a few months ago,"Wow this drought is misery. It's hot, it's dry, it's hot hot hot hot, dry dry dry dry." And then I thought, with a philosophical shrug, "Just as well, really, since I don't have galoshes. If it rains my feet will get all wet!"

But then I thought, "Hey! Maybe that's all the weather is waiting on? God doesn't want it to rain until I'm sufficiently prepared." And naturally I felt guilty at the thought of all those crops withering in the field, rivers drying up, fish drowning on land, and the extra algae growing in Barton Springs.

So I bought galoshes. And guess what - it promptly started raining, and hasn't really stopped for the last few days.

Told ya.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Lunar Module Launch Goes Sadly Awry

Cape Canaveral, FLORIDA -

NASA officials announced today that a technical malfunction at the launch of their new lunar module caused the module to land, not as planned, on the moon, but instead on an unsuspecting citizen's face in Austin, TX. "We at NASA would like to express our extreme regret to the victim, Ms. Amazing Cheastypants," said NASA spokesperson Johnny Rocket. "I can only imagine that having a lunar module embedded in your face would cause both physical and psychological pain, and I want to assure Miss AmazingPants that our scientists are working round the clock to design a strategic removal of said lunar module."

In Austin, Amazing Cheastypants, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, seemed bemused by the situation. "I am beyond shocked," commented Ms. AmazingPants to the media at a press conference this morning. "It happened while I was sleeping, I guess, though how I slept through a lunar module landing on my face, God only knows. When I woke up I thought it was just an enormous zit!" As the assembled press corps chuckled in commiseration, Ms. AmazingPants cradled her face gingerly to support the weight of the lunar module, embedded in her left cheek, about half an inch away from her nose. "In a way, I'm sort of relieved to find that it's a lunar module, because if I were still getting zits this big at 31 years of age, I'd be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Knowing it's just a $14 billion piece of scientific equipment makes me feel a little better about myself, though I do regret the waste of so many taxpayer dollars."

When asked if she was experiencing any health side effects from the embedded lunar module, Ms. AmazingPants responded that, physically, she was feeling just fine. She did express concern, however, that the module was beginning to exert a gravitational pull on other parts of her body. "It's fine right now," she commented, "I'm just feeling and looking a bit 'perkier,' and I'm certainly filling out my push-up bra better than I did yesterday. I wouldn't want this to continue, however." When pushed for details, Ms. AmazingPants said, "Let's just say that if my boobs begin to orbit my face, NASA's going to be in a whole world of hurt when I get done with them."